There are probably two ways of going about the choice of a site for your touring caravan:
- the first is to stick a pin in the map reasonably close to where you are going – and then hoping for the best;
- the second involves a little forethought and research.
The second of these, of course, is more likely to lead to a decision that helps you make the most of your forthcoming holiday. Getting it wrong might put the dampers on your trip from the moment you pitch up.
So what are some of the things to look out for when making your choice? What are you likely to take into consideration when making your shortlist?
Here are a few tips and suggestions:
- after just a few outings with your caravan, you are likely to discover that every site has its own character – you might even call it a personality;
- to take just a few of those indicators, some might be ideal for families with children, others might be more suited to adults only, looking for a bit of peace and quiet;
- others might be large and especially well-appointed when it comes to onsite facilities, others might be smaller and more basic;
- the Camping and Caravanning Club, for instance, has a special range of “Certified Sites” which are tucked away, small (no more than 5 caravans and 10 tents) for the exclusive use of its members;
- the location, of course, might have a lot to do with the character or personality of the caravan site – those near to the town or beach may be more appropriate for families or the younger crowd, whilst those buried deep in the countryside may be better suited to the more mature caravanner;
- when choosing the location, it is also important to keep in mind the length of the drive from home or from any previous site – better to err on the side of keeping travelling times short than run the risk arriving at your site late at night, in the dark and with a car load of thoroughly disgruntled passengers;
- this is likely to be an especially important consideration if you are towing for the first time and inexperienced in calculating journey times when towing a caravan behind your car;
Facilities and amenities
- it is worth reiterating the potential importance of the facilities and amenities you are likely to find onsite;
- if you are touring with children, for example, you might be grateful for an onsite laundry, a recreation room or even a swimming pool;
- just a few days of inclement weather and you may be thanking your lucky stars for facilities and amenities enough to distract the children and keep them occupied – anywhere other than under your feet in the confines of your caravan;
- a certain level of security – controlling those who may come in and out of the site, for example, is likely to be welcome;
- it is certainly likely to be welcomed in terms of any caravan insurance we might recommend here at Cover4Caravans;
- but you might find there is a limit to the extent of intrusion from security installations – a camper writing on the website Camping with Style, for example, related the experience of being monitored 24/7 by CCTV cameras, which he said gave the place every appearance of a city centre at 1 a.m. on a Saturday night;
How long are you staying?
- the length of your intended stay is also something to be put into the equation;
- if yours is a relatively short stay, during which you intend to be out and about walking or hiking for most of the day and coming back to the caravan only to sleep, then some of the facilities and amenities boasted by the site may be lower down your list of priorities;
- if the site is likely to be the main base for a holiday of a week or so’s stay, those facilities might instead prove their weight in gold;
- the ability to book or reserve your pitch may be especially important during busy seasons of the year;
- where caravan sites do not offer the opportunity of pre-booking, remember that some of these have no set pitches and that space goes to those on a first come, first served basis.
Choosing a site to visit with your touring caravan need not be a question of pure potluck. Indeed, that seems to be courting all manner of problems. With a little careful thought and research, however, you might soon find the site that suits you and every member of your party.